Working at coffe shop, Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, St Lucia

How to Visit the Caribbean as a Digital Nomad

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For many, visiting the Caribbean is a dream. Idyllic beaches, crystal blue water and palm trees swaying in the gentle wind.

Normally known as a high end tourist destination attracting honeymooners and wealthy American and European jet setters, there is now a small but growing population of digital nomads heading to the Caribbean to enjoy what the area is known for whilst also working remotely from their laptops.

It isn’t a major destination like South East Asia or Central America that attracts vast numbers, and that might just be the appeal of it.

I’ve been travelling around the Caribbean, heading to four countries and getting a vibe of what it is like to be a digital nomad in each one.

Barbados

Dover Beach, Barbados

Barbados is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean and one that I had actually visited before. Despite it being a destination that attracts high end tourists, it is possible to visit Barbados on a budget.

Visa conditions

Most nationalities can visit Barbados for 30 days without a visa, your passport isn’t even stamped. You do however need to complete an online immigration form up to 72 hours before arrival.

Barbados also offers a digital nomad visa in the form of the Barbados Welcome Stamp which allows you to stay in the country for 12 months. It requires an income of $50,000USD annually and costs $2,000USD to apply. It is definitely aiming to attract high end tourists with those prices. You can apply for that visa here.

Where to stay in Barbados as a digital nomad?

Most of the hotels and resorts line the beaches along the south and the west coasts of the island.

AirBnBs can be found in all of these places and across the island as well . There is also a strong holiday rental market on the island with a number of estate agencies offering properties for short and medium term lets.

I personally prefer to stay closer to the south of the island and have stayed near St Lawrence Gap a few times now. It is closer to beaches and the capital and has a strong bus network. I’ve also stayed in the north and with fewer tourists, it felt a more authentic local experience.

Where to work in Barbados as a digital nomad?

There are plenty of bars and cafes that have wifi that will allow you to work whilst enjoying the beach. I’ve tried to avoid these as its difficult to focus when everyone else is on their holidays enjoying cocktails

There are a few coworking spaces on the island including the brand names of a Regus but TenHabitat is more your thing if you prefer a place that doesn’t feel like a cubicle.

What to do in Barbados?

If laying on paradise beaches gets boring for you, there is still plenty to see in Barbados as a digital nomad.

Oistins fish fry, Barbados
Oistins fish fry on Friday night is a must see

Scuba diving, jet skiing and stand up paddle boarding can all be done on various beaches on the island. Oistins Fish Fry on a Friday night is an institution in Barbados and must be visited at least once. Bridgetown has enough attractions to keep you busy by exploring colonial style architecture and churches, and a trip to visit the UNESCO site of the Garrisons.

The Barbados Museum isn’t going to set the world alight but it is a good introduction to the history of the island

How to get around Barbados?

Barbados has an excellent bus network with three different types of buses criss crossing the island.

Large blue air conditioned buses ply the route from the airport to Bridgetown and up the coast. This buses are most similar to intercity buses in Europe and you pay the driver when getting on.

Large yellow buses run the same routes and head all over the island. They look like American school buses but these don’t have air conditioning instead having their windows open and music blaring. A conductor comes around and collects payment during the journey and costs $3.50 per journey in 2024.

Additionally there are the ZR buses or reggae buses. These white minibuses run all over the island with shorter set routes. They stop at bus stops but can also be hailed as they drive past where the side door will slide open and you can jump in and pay a guy that will be sitting in the back with you or occasionally the driver. These are also $3.50 per journey. A popular route for tourists would be line 11 that runs from Bridgetown to Silver Sands via St Lawrence Gap and Oistins.

Independence Square, Bridgetown, Barbados
Independence Square in the centre of Bridgetown

Costs

Barbados isn’t the cheapest destination to visit, and if you’re expecting prices to be close to what you would spend in South East Asia, you’ll be disappointed. The Barbados dollar is the local currency but almost everything can be paid for in US dollars as well at a rate of 2:1.

All costs below are in Barbados dollars (BBD). Bus journeys around the country cost $3.50 ($1.75USD or £1.38), a beer costs $4-5 and a meal in a restaurant costs $25-40. I found groceries to be expensive, a pastry costing $7.50, a litre of milk $9 and a dozen eggs costs $12.

eSIM on Airalo = $9.50 for 1GB for 1 week

Internet speeds and data

I got the Airalo eSIM which provided me with data for a week. It gave me 4G internet which worked everywhere I travelled. The speeds were good but not fantastic. There is also the option to buy a Digicel SIM card but strangely there isn’t a SIM card shop in the airport when you land.

My AirBnB had good enough internet, speeds of 30-40mbps and other places such as bars and restaurants were often a bit slower at 10-20mbps. It was fast enough to work for my job but for those that need to download large data files or need super fast internet, the speeds may be slightly lacking.

Beach and oistins, Barbados

Antigua and Barbuda

The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are another group that is frequented by high value tourists. The former British territory still has an old English feel with the capital St Johns holding the old school colonial charm, if only in small doses these days.

Antigua is by far the bigger and more populous of the two, but they are still the third smallest in terms of population in the Caribbean with less than 100,000 people living on the islands.

The main draw of Antigua, like much of the Caribbean, is the beaches. And Antigua is famous for having 365 of them, one for each day of the year.

Pigeon Point Beach, Antigua

Visa conditions

Most nationalities can stay in Antigua for up to 90 days without a visa. All that is required is a flight leaving the country.

There is a digital nomad visa for Antigua, but like Barbados, the barriers to entry are higher than other countries. Income requirements are $50,000USD per year and the visa fee is $1500USD.

Where to stay in Antigua as a digital nomad?

Many people that go on holiday to Antigua will stay at one of the many resorts that dot the island. Whilst perfect for a short getaway, it isn’t usually feasible for a digital nomad to stay at one of these resorts for a long period of time.

Various companies have set up holiday rentals and long term lets and popular places to live would be English Harbour in the south with a large expat community, mostly of yachties, living in the area, one of the most stunning on the island.

St Johns, the capital of Antigua could make a good base as it has bars and restaurants along the sea front however I felt it had a seedy side that didn’t want to make me stick around.

I stayed in the centre of the island in a small residential street in an AirBnB in the parish of Huberts. It was a short walk to the bus stop where I could then reach many other destinations.

Home and airbnb,, Antigua
My simple home in Antigua

Where to work in Antigua as a digital nomad?

Wadadli Space is the only major coworking on the island. Located right in the centre of Antigua close to the village of Potters, it is a large open plan space with desks, chairs, good coffee and good wifi. The owner, Michelle, opened it in October 2023 and also hosts events in the space such as book clubs and baby showers. For more info, their website is here.

There are a few coffee shops in St Johns that have been used for working, however I found many of them to be designed for tourists and cruise ships and I would get distracted if I had to work long hours in them.

Wadadli Space coworking, Antigua
Wadadli Space coworking

What to do in Antigua?

The most famous aspect of Antigua is the fact that it has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. If you enjoy beaches, you’ll have your work cut out exploring them all!

The Naval Dockyards near English Harbour is the only UNESCO site in the country and is worth spending some time learning about the history of the place. English Harbour is also the site of Antigua Sailing Week, an event that attracts over 100 boats from around the world every April.

If history is what you’re after, the national museum is only EC$8 and is an informative way to spend an hour or so. Don’t expect to be blown away. The rest of St John’s can be visited in an afternoon with few other major attractions although I believe the place is slightly more lively when a cruise ship arrives than when I visited.

Nelsons Dockyard UNESCO site, Antigua

How to get around Antigua?

Buses criss cross the island on multiple routes. One of the most popular ones is bus number 17 that runs from the West Bus Terminal in St Johns to English Harbour on the south of the island, linking the two most popular tourist destinations. Bus 31 and 35 head out towards the cricket ground

Costs

Antigua can be visited on a budget but I would prefer to visit one of the resorts with crystal white sand beaches if I were to return in future.

Buses around the island are and affordable way of getting around and only cost EC$2.50-3.00 depending on how far you go and on what route. The beaches are free but I found Antigua one of the more expensive islands in the Caribbean.

Accommodation is pricey and there is very little in the way of budget accommodation on the island. I stayed in one of the cheapest AirBnBs on the island and was still paying US$70 per night. And the aircon wasn’t great…

Internet speeds and data

A frustrating thing about arriving at the airport in Antigua is that there was nowhere to buy a SIM card at the airport. I used an eSIM in Antigua and it provided good enough speeds for simple tasks such as watching videos on my phone and worked all over the island when I had 4G.

5G is advertised but I never connected to 5G.

Wifi across the island seems to max out at 30mbps. Good enough to stream and video call, but for digital nomads that need to download large file sizes, it may not be sufficient. Upload speeds were always considerably worse at closer to 5mbps.

St John, Antigua
The harbour of St John

St Lucia

St Lucia was the island that felt most at home with nature. Outside of the resorts, the hilly country is an endless sea of dense green forest with waterfalls and beaches acting like cherries on the cake.

It is a place that I know as the honeymoon destination for my parents and a place a few friends have been to in recent years. It was much more geared to tourism and less to independent travel than the other islands I worked from on my trip working as a digital nomad in the Caribbean.

Visa conditions

Most nationalities do not need a visa for stays of up to 6 weeks in St Lucia. Citizens of the EU can stay for up to 90 days. A list of visa policy can be seen here. There is also a need to fill in an electronic form up to 72 hours before you arrive. However, it can be completed before customs using airport wifi if it isn’t completed beforehand.

There is a digital nomad visa for St Lucia, named the Live It program, however there is very little information online from official sources. I believe the cost is EC$125 (about US$40) and lasts for one year. The closest I can find to actual official information is on this site.

Beach in Gros Islet, St Lucia

Where to stay in St Lucia as a digital nomad?

I stayed in the north of St Lucia in Gros Islet. It is one of the nicer areas of the island. The town itself didn’t seem the most appealing but close by is Rodney Bay with its marina and a lot of very nice resorts.

Castries is the largest city but doesn’t appear desirable when I visited a couple of times. Similar to St Johns in Antigua as a place to pass through and nothing much else.

I also spent a few days in Soufriere on the south west coast. This is a great place to stay if you are looking to hike to the famous Pitons, the triangular mountains that adorn the flag of St Lucia and gives its local beer its name. There are some beachside restaurants but the town itself isn’t the best.

I would return to St Lucia but would rather stay in a resort and have a holiday than to work from it.

Where to work in St Lucia as a digital nomad?

Unfortunately there are no coworking spaces on St Lucia. I mostly worked from home when I was there although I did go to a cafe a couple of times.

Cafe Ole in Rodney Bay marina is a  good cafe to visit and work from. There are other cafes in the area but I found that Cafe Ole had the best and most stable internet.

Working in Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, St Lucia

What to do in St Lucia?

Most of the island is geared up for tourists staying in luxury resorts and it makes independent travel difficult. If I were to come again, I would do what a friend of mine has done and hire a car so that I can explore some of the mountains and waterfalls the country has to offer.

The beaches is what makes St Lucia and if you get a chance to visit as many as you can, especially in the north then you’ll have a relaxing time.

Another must visit in the country is the Friday Night fish market. The roads in Gros Islet shut down to cars and the place is filled with pedestrians and stalls selling beer, rum, fried fish and an abundance of street food that is eaten to the backdrop of head pounding soca, reggae and local pop.

How to get around?

St Lucia is one of those places that is so geared to high end tourism, with private taxis and hotel shuttles, that getting around by private transport is tricky. There are buses that run between each of the major cities/ towns along the coast, but to do a larger journey, such as from the north to the south of the island, it will mean taking many buses and changing a few times.

Buses rarely run on Sundays but you may get lucky. If you were to go from the top of the island to the airport in the south, an airport taxi will cost US$100-150 and take 2-2.5 hours.

To get there on public transport you would need the following buses:

Bus 1A from Castries to Gros Islet
Bus 3F from Castries to Soufriere
But 4F from Soufriere to Vieux Fort
Vieux Fort to Airport

Although I never took this route, I can imagine it would take at least 4-5 hours if you timed it correctly. I took taxis between places.

Pitons on the beach, St Lucia
View of the famous Pitons

Costs

I found St Lucia to be one of the more expensive destinations on my trip. Lack of public transport meant getting around was pricey.

I was lucky in finding affordable accommodation, but you get what you pay for and the places I stayed in were far from luxury. Where I stayed was an average of US$40 per night.

Massy’s is a local supermarket that is the best option to buy groceries from. Meals on the beach can vary from EC$65-140 depending on whether you have vegetarian noodles or steak. A taxi from Soufriere to Hewanorra airport in the south can cost US$75 / EC$200.

Internet speeds and data

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a SIM card at the airport so I used an eSIM with 1GB costing US$9.50.

The internet in my first AirBnB was 12mbps, cafes 7-10mbps and my second AirBnB was 25mbps download speeds. Good enough for simple work and streaming but not for large files to download.

Friday Street Party, Gros Islet, St Lucia
Friday Street Party

Trinidad & Tobago

The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago are at the southern end of the Caribbean, almost touching Venezuela in South America. Whilst part of the same nation, the two islands couldn’t be more different.

Tobago, the smaller of the two has its main industry of tourism and the main activity is exploring its beautiful beaches but Trinidad is one of the larger islands in the Caribbean with much of its wealth coming from oil and industry.

I only stayed in Tobago, but I passed through Trinidad and have friends there so most of this guide is based on Tobago.

Visa conditions

Most western nationalities can stay for 90 on arrival. Australians and Kiwi’s need to get a visa on arrival.

Trinidad and Tobago doesn’t currently have a digital nomad visa.

Where to stay in Trinidad & Tobago as a digital nomad?

I only stayed in Tobago. The island is a lot smaller and has a very local feel.

There are an abundance of hotels and guesthouses dotted all over the island catering to all budgets.

I stayed in the south of the island, within walking distance of the airport and close to Crown Point and Store Bay Beach.

Store Bay Beach, Tobago

Other popular areas include Mount Irvine, Black Rock, Plymouth and Scarborough although expect more tourist style places than normal apartments in all of these.

In Trinidad, the capital Port of Spain is the most sensible place to stay with the neighbourhood of Woodbrook being a good choice with plenty of bars and restaurants to keep a visitor busy.

Where to work in Trinidad & Tobago?

Unfortunately there aren’t any coworking spaces on the island of Tobago. I ended up working on the kitchen table of my Airbnb. A few hotel restaurants and reception areas have wifi and may allow you to work.

There were no traditional coffee shops from what I could see.

In Trinidad, there are more coworking options. I was in contact with the guys from Worx, a newly opened coworking space in Port of Spain which I’ll just have to try on my next visit. Their website can be found here.

What to do in Tobago?

Again, endless beaches, great snorkelling, SCUBA diving and boating on the offshore islands. Getting into the interior of the island is also a great way to have authentic experiences.

(Note that many things are closed on Monday’s on Tobago so that may not be the best day to go out exploring)

TT dollars, money, Tobago

How to get around?

There are local buses on both Trinidad and Tobago but schedules seem erratic at best.

Taxi’s can be found on both islands and Trinidad has TTRideShare, an app similar to Uber.

If you were to stay on either island for a long time, I would recommend hiring a car to get around.

Costs

I found the costs in Tobago were the lowest out of the islands I visited. A very nice meal in a nice restaurant with dessert and a beer was TT$250, or about US$36. Fast food places had meals starting at TT$30-60 depending on what you get.

Groceries were affordable compared to the other islands as well. I also found there was a greater variety of choice in the mini marts and supermarkets compared to the other islands.

Internet speeds and data

Flying into Tobago airport, there wasn’t an option to get cash from an ATM or get a SIM card, something that is lacking in the entire region. I again got an eSIM and found speeds to be ok.

The Airalo eSIM in Trinidad and Tobago had a greater variety of packages available than other countries in the Caribbean.

Internet speeds in my AirBnB were good enough to work and when I check were around 25mbps. Public wifi in a few places I checked was ok to browse but would often cut out and you would need to log back in again.

In Trinidad airport, there was a stand selling SIM cards in the airport in the duty free area before you collect your luggage.

Sim card prices, Trinidad airport
Sim card prices at Trinidad airport

Negatives about being a digital nomad in the Carribbean

Who would have thought that staying in a place that is considered paradise by so many would have a number of downsides, but unfortunately it does.

I love working in airports, but the ones in the Caribbean are small terminals that don’t lend well to working. In all of the airports I have been in, the wifi has been poor and the lounges sparse.

Normally when I arrive in a country, I will buy a local sim card at the airport and then change some money. Barbados, Antigua, and Tobago airports didn’t have anywhere to buy a sim card or to exchange money, although Antigua did have an ATM. St Lucia had money changers but nowhere to get a sim. Luckily I could stay connected with an eSIM.

St John city and sea, Antigua
St John, Antigua

Another negative of being a digital nomad in the Caribbean would have to be the cost of living. This isn’t like staying in Asia or Eastern Europe here. Rent is higher, food and drinks are higher and supermarkets have a much more limited stock of healthy food.

Fruit and veg was only sold from stalls and markets, often close to the main towns and cities. I occasionally saw onions and garlic in local mini marts but that was it. It takes a bit more effort to stay healthier in these places.

Along similar lines, I found that the tourist tax was high here. Locals expect you to be a wealthy tourist and try and take advantage of it. From the simple “what, no tip?” when paying for a taxi, to switching the price to pay in USD which double the price in some shops. I have to say that the majority of people I met were friendly, helpful and genuine, but it is always the 1% that sticks in your mind.

How would I rate the Caribbean as a digital nomad destination

I loved my time working as a digital nomad in the Caribbean, however it wouldn’t be my first choice to go back and travel in that style again. I stayed for one week in each country, which with a full time job, didn’t allow me as much down time and exploration as I would have liked.

I would consider going to Barbados on their welcome stamp programme for a year to get a rental for a year and to experience the place as somewhere to live.

I would love to go back to Antigua and St Lucia on holiday and stay in a resort, relax on a beach and be pampered in luxury! But then again, who wouldn’t!

If I were to work in each place again, I would stay for at least a month and I would hire a car in places like Antigua, St Lucia and Tobago so that I have a better way of seeing the islands.

But this is why I do it, to learn from my mistakes and to help you avoid them in future!

Carib beer and sunset, English Harbour, Antigua

Summing up being a digital nomad in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is a bucket list destination for many, a place that is reserved for honeymoons and luxury retreats.

That I was fortunate enough to work from four beautiful islands over four weeks is something I will remember forever.

I would recommend to work in the caribbean as a digital nomad if you get the chance, but go in with expectations that it will be very different to other regions you may have travelled to before. I made mistakes in what I did, and I recommend to slow down, hire a car and stay away from the resorts.

If you do that, you’ll be one very happy nomad in this part of the world.

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